Commentary

Brooks: Cynicism Is Easy 8-10-15

Sometimes I’m asked whether my faith in our political leaders went up or down when I started working closely with the politicians we all see on TV. You might be surprised to learn that my estimation of these men and women actually went up—a lot.

It’s easy to be cynical about politicians. We live in an age in which tearing down the high and mighty has become a twisted type of public sport. But being a member of Congress (or running for President) is a crushing job. The cognitive demands are intense, the travel is punitive and the personal attacks are relentless. It’s hard to understand why someone would seek these jobs. Yet they do, and not for exorbitant pay either. Some just love the perks and power, I suppose.

But I can say after getting to know many quite well that most do it because they truly love their country.

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Medved: Joe Biden Is Hillary’s Worst Nightmare 8-7-15

The New York Times reports preparations by Vice President Biden and his aides to join the presidential race … a looming disaster for Hillary. It’s not that Biden is more competent, moderate or popular than she is—he’s none of the above. But he is closer to the administration, and a majority of Democrats adore the president so much that they’ll choose the candidate who pledges most fervently to continue his policies. That’s why a Biden race—promising a third term for Obama, in effect—would wreck Hillary’s attempt to distance herself from the administration, which she must do to win in November.

Two-thirds of Americans think we’re on the wrong track, and don’t want more of the same. Bernie Sanders understands this, and promises a sharp change of direction—toward the radical left! If Biden jumps in, the Democrats will have three major candidates, all of whom should be unelectable.

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Medved: Avoid The Anger Trap 8-6-15

As Republican candidates prepare for their first televised debate, they should avoid the temptations of anger and negativity. It’s true that rage merchants can grab headlines and make temporary gains in the polls – and it’s also true that the angriest candidate, Donald Trump, is the current frontrunner.

But in November, the people won’t elect someone just to express their wrath—they will choose instead a candidate who credibly offers to make things better. There’s no candidate in history who ever won the presidency based on rage.

Certainly, after seven years of Obama’s misrule there are reasons for frustration, even despair, and at a time when two-thirds think we’re on the wrong track, indignation is appropriate. But the best response is pointing to the right track, not simply hollering about the wretched state of things. Successful politicians have embraced the title “Happy Warrior”; a grumpy warrior can get headlines, but won’t win national elections.

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Hewitt: The Beginning of the End of the Obama Era 8-5-15

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

The GOP debate Thursday night promises to be a drama and indeed fun-filled collision of 16 very diverse candidates over two different debates.  Of course many eyes will be on Donald Trump and Jeb Bush the leader in fundraising, but Scott Walker, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are also all widely regarded as top tier contenders and there isn’t a bad candidate in the bunch.

The Fox News channel hosts will have their hands full keeping the many candidates within their allotted times and the questions precise and resistant to filibuster, but the debate signals the beginning of the end of the Obama era which has been wildly destructive.  For that reason alone, the rising curtain at the debate ought to be cheered.

I get to ask questions at debates next month and in December and then March, and I look forward to helping GOP primary voters decide who is best positioned to face Hillary in 2016 while also helping set the issues that the general election in 2016 ought to revolve around—especially national security and the calamitous agreement with Iran.

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Brooks: The Best Solutions for Poverty 8-4-15

When my mother’s grandparents first came steaming into New York harbor from Denmark in 1890, they were risking everything to get to a country where everyone could earn success. After a few years, they owned their own farm in South Dakota.

Most of you listening have a similar family story. That’s why mobility is such a big part of the American Dream.

People still want this, but the shadow of pessimism is growing. In December 2014, 76 percent of Americans said they were dissatisfied with the United States.

The problem is that Americans have come to think the game is rigged and the American Dream isn’t available to everyone.

Conservatives are in possession of the best solutions to the problems of poverty and economic mobility. We need to communicate—in the title of my latest book—“The Conservative Heart.” We need to put forward a hopeful, optimistic governing agenda—one that focuses on improving the lives of all people, especially the most vulnerable, through authentically conservative policies.

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Brooks: What Can America Learn From Greece? 8-3-15

Greece and the European Union may have temporarily staved off disaster but many worry that austerity will impose considerable short-term pain on Greek citizens and further depress the country’s struggling economy.

What can America learn from this?

At first glance, liberals and conservatives seem to draw opposite lessons. The left sees the Greek disaster as evidence that austerity and belt-tightening are unfair and painful. Meanwhile, the right sees the disaster as a lesson in the need for fiscal restraint and the dangers of big deficits.
Both arguments get something right. Blunt austerity is disastrous for the most vulnerable. Suicides have spiked in Greece since the financial crisis as unemployment rates have surged upward.

But this terrible austerity is the inevitable outcome of runaway spending, fueled by an ever-growing desire to expand the social safety net across the entire Greek society.

So what is the takeaway lesson for the United States? If social safety net programs metastasize into expansive middle class entitlements, the genuine poor get left behind when it comes time to pay the bill.

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Hewitt: Clearing The Haze 7-31-15

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

The Colorado Springs Gazette has published a special report on the impact of marijuana legalization on the Centennial State—a special section, called “Clearing the Haze” piloted by their editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen.

The results are not pretty:

Legal marijuana has not raised a penny for the schools as promised but has instead created an enormous addiction problem among young Coloradans.

The state has also attracted cross-country criminals and indeed even the very cartels that proponents had hoped would be set back by legalization.

And the thousands of marijuana establishments that have sprung up are poorly regulated and the dope is particularly strong.

In short, it’s a public policy disaster.

And it all remains very illegal under federal law. All that needs to happen is for a president and an attorney general to take note of the facts on the ground and act.

Look for this issue to raise its head in the Republican presidential debates. And expect Colorado to try and find a way to put a very bad genie back in its bottle.

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